Tag Archives: The Walking Dead

TWD: Can Carol get any more awesome?

WARNING: MAJOR SPOILERS!

AMC’s The Walking Dead has been going strong for four whole seasons now and has just premiered the start of its fifth. It’s true that there have been some lags in the story through the series, like during the search for Carol’s daughter. However, the characters moved on from Hershel’s farm and so did we as the gang was again attacked by a ravenous mob of zombies. The end of season four left every one with one question: Is this going to be the end for our characters?

Rick’s declaration during the last moments of the episode convinced me otherwise. When the rest of the group seemed hopeless, he told them, that the bad guys had no idea who they were screwing with. I had chills. It was really cool to have such a surprise at the end of the season though. For some, we expected this though, because when things seem too good to be true in The Walking Dead, they usually are. Exhibit A: Hershel’s farm. It seemed pretty safe and filled with nice people that had some good old family values. The next thing you know, you find out that there is a barn full of zombies. All of a sudden, a peaceful plot of land turns into a battleground and the residents look crazy instead of down to Earth like you’d first assumed. Never assume in this show!

Carol gets tough in the Season Premier. Image from AMC.com

The show has a post-apocalyptic appeal that sets it aside from others because of its horror and drama element. The horror element really came into play in the premiere. I found there to be a scene in it that was too brutal for me. For once in four seasons, I had to look away. The episode still managed to blow me away though, with Carol’s powerful return to the main group of characters.

Carol’s character was gone for so long, I was beginning to think that she was never coming back. It got to the point where I almost forgot that she existed. The way that they integrated her back into the story and plot was very natural though. The creators of the show did this brilliantly by having a domino affect occur with the characters not even knowing how close to each other that they were. With the opening to this adrenaline-pumping action at the start of the new season, a new journey with relentless villains is sure to follow.

 

 

 

The power of video streaming

Times used to be much simpler. That came with the good and bad, the ups and downs. However, the time of either catching your favorite show or missing it and becoming the laughing stock of the town is over. Using various methods, anyone can access their shows and movies by using the Internet. Well, unless you’re my grandma.

The battle between Netflix and HuluPlus.  Graphic from Geek
The battle between Netflix and HuluPlus.
Graphic from Geek

Some of the most known and popular video-viewing websites are Hulu and Netflix. They both are a little different and provide different videos to stream, however they both have the same purpose. These give their customers great power and freedom, but we all know one simple thing: With great power comes great viewing responsibility. These powers can be used for good or great evil. The outcome is up to you.

Hulu is an ad-supported website that lets users view different shows, movies, and clips with limited access. Upgrading to Hulu Plus allows customers special privileges and more content. Essentially, you can stream a show the day after it airs if you’ve upgraded. If you don’t pay for the Hulu Plus subscription, you’re limited to seeing the show one week after it airs. Personally, the suspense was killing me, so I forked over the fee.

Netflix is can is a paid-for Internet service that allows you to stream movies and television shows on multiple devices and/or order DVDs for rental. The great thing about it is that there are no commercials. That means, there’s no break in between episodes for you to realize that your paper is due in two hours.

Although both these websites can be good tools for professors and students alike, it can inspire a lot of procrastination. To some, the background noise may work as a concentration tool too. At this point, they’ve been around long enough for them to become part of our every day routines.

These are some of the good and bad associated with using them long-term:

HULU:

GOOD:

Use Hulu so that you can watch television without watching it in real time and missing a deadline.

BAD:

-Catch up on your show, using your cell phone during your Art History class.

NETFLIX:

GOOD:

-Have an episode of The Office playing while you work on a homework assignment.

BAD:

Marathon an entire season of The Walking Dead in one day the night before an exam because you want to figure out who dies before tumblr can spoil it for you.

 

The truth about zombies

As Halloween approaches, all the horror movies are coming out, and they’re bringing the zombies. I personally, am a big fan of AMC’s The Walking Dead. So what’s the deal with zombies? How would zombies actually work and could they really exist?
First of all, let’s define a zombie as an immortal and flesh craving “animal” that no longer has any semblance of humanity (hopes, dreams, empathy).

The Brain
Zombies are typically imagined to be fast, incapacitated by hunger, and immune to pain. So what does that mean for the brain? Much of the brain would still need to be “on” and working with degradation to some very specific parts, despite what some of those science fiction shows have taught you.

Analyzing the zombie. Graphic by Jilletta Becker
Analyzing the zombie. Graphic by Jilletta Becker

To be immune to pain, zombies would likely have some sort of damage or brain lesions on their sensory cortex, which receives information from touch, pressure, pain, vibration, and temperature receptors. Without the sensory cortex, the brain would be unable to receive any information from those receptors, and therefore wouldn’t register pain, temperature, pressure, vibration, or touch. Another explanation, would also be degradation of the receptors themselves; no receptors, no pain!

In terms of those poor decision-making skills, the brain affected could potentially be the prefrontal cortex. The prefrontal cortex is on the front of your head (right behind your forehead), and is one you’ve probably heard is still developing through your late teens. The prefrontal cortex helps you to coordinate information to form associations between information, and therefore gain an understanding of consequences of actions events. So having a damaged prefrontal cortex is what could cause the whole “closed door” predicament for zombies, as in “How do I get through this closed door?”

As for the crazy hunger for flesh and the general ability to function (minus the humanity), several parts of the zombie brain would have to continue working. An important grouping is the midbrain (plus the thalamus and hypothalamus) and the cerebellum. The midbrain is, as per its name, located in the much protected middle of the brain, connecting from the inside to the spinal cord. The midbrain, along with the thalamus and hypothalamus, work to process incoming sensory information, such as visual and auditory information, as well as outgoing motor information (as in, “move your arm now”). More importantly, these parts of the brain control the endocrine system, allowing or disallowing, changes in mood, sleep, energy, and metabolism. It’s possible changes in these parts of the brain would allow for some of those “zombie-like” qualities like hunger and sleeplessness. The cerebellum is what directs the involuntary coordination and control of ongoing body movements (Run, Zombie, Run) and would be necessary to successfully coordinate the movements that make zombies so fast.

The Cause
Imagine the complexity of a pathogen that would be so selective in its damage to some areas and leave others intact. Even if there were such a selective pathogen, it probably wouldn’t be able to limit it’s feeding to those areas forever, and would eventually move on to damage more until the zombie eventually died of dementia. In nature, such examples do exist, but can only be sustained for a limited amount of time for these reasons.

Another important point, is why? What’s in it for this pathogen to make these symptoms? In nature, zombification has occurred to promote reproduction of the pathogen/virus/fungus, which zombies definitely do through biting. Also, the inoculation/incubation would have to occur quickly, or the zombie would eat its prey before infection even occurred. Why then, is there no zombie vs. zombie action? It could be explained in the World War Z fashion: another zombie would be a poor host for infection. The idea is brilliant, but would be practically impossible to come into existence. Overall, it seems like a losing battle, if zombies were too good at what they do, they’d eventually run out of hosts and die off anyway.

Keep in mind, this article only touches on the possible mechanism of the zombie, and are only guesses based on the functions of the brain. There are many different ways to bring about the qualities that zombies exemplify. Even with damage in the regions suggested above, the brain is an amazing, unpredictable organ that will often find ways to “rewire” and avoid damaged areas. Therefore, if you’re getting ready for the apocalypse, it’s probably better to prepare for radiation or an airborne pathogen — or just not worry about it!